Definition: Radical Transparency

Radical Transparency

Radical transparency is a phrase used across fields of governance, politics, software design and business to describe actions and approaches that radically increase the openness of organizational process and data. Also used for showing the internal workings of a product, service, or organization that are usually hidden from view, when applied even more innovatively than just within an organization.


The examples of radical transparency, when you can find it, are really refreshing and innovative for how things can be done within an organization! In an equally innovative way, the 99% Invisible podcast below talks about how the transparency was used to let customers/users fully look into the operations of something so they can appreciate what goes into it rather than oversimplifying it and not appreciating it. The best example, for me, was how the operators of the shinkansen high speed bullet trains in Japan let riders see the amazing work done by the cleaning crews in seven minutes between rides, turning it into a spectacle of theatrical wonder, rather than hiding it all and getting angry and impatient riders wondering why they have to wait “so long” to get on to the trains between rides! See video at bottom. Brilliant!


Definition: Invasion Sports

Invasion sports

Sports where you have to try to get a “ball” and/or person past another person.


More formally…

Invasion sports are team games in which the purpose is to invade the opponent’s territory while scoring points and keeping the opposing team’s points to a minimum, and all within a defined time period.


But I like it less because points are generally a given, so is getting more points or minimizing points against, to try to win, along with a time period. But that’s organized sports for you. You can just play and go with the first definition I have.


From a long and engaging episode of the Rich Roll podcast with remarkable research by David Epstein on why generalists beat specialists. You have to  listen to this research in this age of hyper-specialization that may be good for some niche things, but leaves us worse off overall. A balance can and should be struck, as with everything, but if you want to be the best you can be, go be more of a generalist than a specialist.

How Much Does Your Name Matter? The Quantitative and Qualitative Research

One of the stories Freakonomics is best known for is their research into whether your name has any positive or negative impact on your economic destiny, particularly if you had a rare name, or name associated with cultures discriminated against widely. The study was focused on African-Americans, as heard in the podcast below from some time back.


Data, though, doesn’t always tell the full story. In fact, it doesn’t tell anybody’s story, just a group’s outcomes. Freakonomics recently followed up this story with one where Dr. Marijuana Pepsi Vandyck successfully defended a PhD about what it’s like for African-Americans with almost unique names to go through life, to get the personal stories of real people and see if their names really mattered in their lives. Have a listen to hear how the stories differ from the data, even if they may end up in the same outcome, and why the how makes a huge difference!